Cork hospitality sector waiting on Cabinet decision on re-opening plans for the industry

Cork hospitality sector waiting on Cabinet decision on re-opening plans for the industry

Michael O'Donovan, of The Castle Inn, South Main Street & Chairperson Cork City & Cork County Branch Vintners Federation of Ireland, at The Castle Inn, South Main Street, Cork.

CORK City chairman of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) Michael O’Donovan said his members will prepare for reopening and the upcoming jazz festival as planned.

The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival is taking place from Thursday, October 21 to Sunday, October 24. Further restrictions were due to be eased nationwide on Friday, October 22, but there is now a lack of certainty due to rising Covid cases.

Nphet is due to meet next Monday and will advise the Government on the path ahead, based on the current Covid-19 data.

Mr O’Donovan, who owns the Castle Inn, said members of the hospitality sector will prepare for all eventualities.

“At the moment everybody is going ahead as normal,” he said.

“Last week we met the Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar, and he told us it was opening as normal. We have to prepare as if it is going ahead. We have stock ordered, we have bands booked, and staff rosters are now in place. We hope it will go ahead.”

Cork hotelier Michael Magner is concerned that if the restrictions remain in place, it will be bad from a jobs perspective.

“We are waiting for the recommendations, and we will take direction after that,” he said.

“If we are unable to trade fully, it is a concern from a jobs perspective coming into the winter. We factored in a busy last quarter of the year, and if restrictions remain in place, we will have to take a position on it. What we want to see is the Government taking a proactive approach about how they ease the restrictions on October 22.”

Mr Magner, who owns the Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire, said the various supports may have to be revisited if the restrictions are not eased on October 22.

Michael Magner, owner Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Michael Magner, owner Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire. Picture: Howard Crowdy

“We have put our shoulder to the wheel, as have the Government. The EWSS will have to be revisited and they are probably going to have to look at the commercial rates waiver, because if our businesses are restricted during November and December, we are going to need those supports to continue.”

Meanwhile, Irish Rail said there will be service disruption from Saturday, October 16, to Tuesday, October 26, including during the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail explained that the works, including a new signalling system being put in place at Kent Station, along with essential track works at a number of locations, were the culmination of a major project which has been ongoing for two years, and that impact on services was unavoidable.

The planning for the works had been in place for many months. The Irish Rail spokesperson also said that during the planning stage, it had been understood there would be no jazz festival this year.

Full details of revised schedules and bus transfers are available at www.irishrail.ie.

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